West News Wire: On Sunday, tens of thousands of supporters filled the streets in nearly 70 nations to urge the international community to assist in containing the gang violence that has engulfed Haiti and is further destabilising its social and political situation.
Abigail Calixte, a native of Miami, claimed that she had relatives in Haiti who are “scared to go out” as a result of the violence. The country, according to Calixte, 18, has seen significant change since she last visited when she was 10 years old, when she recalls it having a sense of “togetherness.”
Calixte, a resident of the Little Haiti area, stated, “I’m tired of seeing everything that’s going on.” Like, this isn’t the country I’m familiar with.
There have been gangs in Haiti for many years, but since President Jovenel Mose was assassinated in July 2021, gang violence has grown as the island nation’s government has fallen apart; a new president has not yet been chosen. The Brookings Institution also notes that 10 of Haiti’s remaining elected senators, whose terms ended in January, vacated their positions without being replaced. The research group also claimed in a paper from February that the Haitian National Police and government figures have connections to the gangs and are powerless to stop them.
And even two years after Moïse’s death, “The fact that there is no government in power, it means that they could simply multiply and become stronger,” said Gregory Toussaint, pastor at the Tabernacle of Glory church in Miami. And now, gangs control an estimated 80% of the capital, according to the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Over the years, Haitian gangs have abducted, attacked, and killed locals. The U.N. reports that more than 500 gang-related deaths occurred in Haiti in the first three months of this year alone. Since 2021, gangs have forcibly displaced at least 160,000 Haitians. Additionally, 60% of Haitians, according to UNICEF, have inadequate access to essential services and live below the poverty line.
Toussaint stated that the major goals of the protests were to convince Congress to approve legislation to aid in the demise of Haitian gangs by exposing the “bad actors” who collaborate with them on political and economic issues, as well as to support the Biden administration’s continuation of its humanitarian parole programme. The demonstrations inspired other Haitians to take action and advance inter-Haitian unity.